The 2014 MTBA Gold Cup was played recently at the Eden SuperBowl where a record-breaking 47 bowlers participated in male and female divisions.
The winners of the tournament were David Fenech, who claimed his first Gold Cup after several years of trying, and Stephanie Said. She stunned the field to secure an incredible fourth consecutive title.
Fenech was in fourth place after six games but came out of the trap in a determined mood on Day Two, rolling an opening threesome of 243-239-235 to shoot up through the rankings with a total of 2,453 pins.
A very good second set from Clayton Zammit saw him leap from 13th place all the way up to second on 2,426 and further changes saw Mario Ellul take third (2,378) and Pierre Yves Galea clinch fourth with 2,377.
The other qualifiers for the round robin were Benny Hili (2,367) and Nicholas Zahra (2,343).
Zammit’s broadside attack continued through the penultimate stage to book his place in the final. Fenech went through in second ahead of Ellul.
Fenech felt that he had deserved a spot in the final, and was set on getting it regardless by overcoming Ellul in the semis.
The final between Fenech and Zammit went to two games, forced by the former who clinched the opener 193-180.
Game two was as close as they come but it was Fenech’s day as he won that 199-195.
After the first of two six-day sessions, Said had already established a solid lead when shooting a 1,205 interim total. That put her ahead of junior Sara Xuereb (1,144) with Cynthia Duca in third (1,135) and Amanda Cini fourth (1,111).
Day Two saw an improved performance from Cini, giving her a gross qualifying total of 2,366.
However, it was Said who retained the top spot, managing that by a mere two pins (2,368). Xuereb slipped a place to third (2,338), with Duca fourth on 2,197 pins.
In the second round robin stage the top four were joined by Josephine Borg and Liliana Said.
Leader Said played like the champion she is, obtaining four match wins from five for some very handy bonus points, and helped along to retain the top spot by some good efforts, specifically games of 201, 224 and 226.
She stayed ahead of Cini who also had a decent set, but was unlucky to manage only two victories, while the third and final spot in the stepladder finals went to Duca.
The semi-final between Cini and Duca was a close affair. It would have been a scratch draw on 185-all but Duca’s superior game handicap put her 13 pins ahead for a 205-192 win.
Duca knew that, as the underdog, she would have to beat Said twice to take this year’s title.
As the intense final rolled off, it was clear that neither was going to give up the fight but it was Said who got the better of her opponent with a 192-186 win to wrap up her fourth consecutive Gold Cup title, without the need for a second game.
Apart from their titles and trophies, Said and Fenech also shared a €600 cash prize fund, while runners-up Duca and Zammit were awarded with a free entry into a national tournament of their choice, all courtesy of the Malta Tenpin Bowling Association
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